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tv   [untitled]    April 6, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PDT

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and where do we take it in the next level so we can follow up with what the findings are. if i can begin with trying to understand the nature of the audit. there are different audits that take place, some maybe you can start. is this a forensic audit? >> i do not know what the definition of a frantic audit would be, but we did study this
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with the statutory requirements and tried to piece together who owns the loans and the security instruments and what was happening. because there was some work to put together the history of title, i guess that could be called forensic, but i am not sure if you're using some sort of forensic definition. supervisor campos: will try to figure a way to do with this information. will be offices be able to seek these irregularities print >> we
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are in the process of working with the city attorney, the d.a., and others to make sure all information is available so that they can do their jobs. the company is wonderful and tried to break out this information. we are also cut sponsoring a bill. most governing foreclosures are state laws. i would encourage this board to sinai or support any of those laws in the package pertaining to robo siding and a variety of behaviors and all have identified.
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we want to protect people's privacy, but we also want the information to be made public so people can use it. >> in terms of the number of loans that you looked at, the total number of clark -- foreclosures if you can say why not all of them. >> mr. tang's office was working on that, so the percentage was actually quite high if you look at the residential trustees, deeds over that period, so without getting into what represents a statistical standard, and i
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think 18% is reasonable. supervisor campos: this is a substantial number, but because we are looking at activity, possible criminal activity, it might be helpful for us to take this report and actually take a step further and actually look at all of the foreclosures, certainly all of the residential foreclosures that have happened in san francisco to make sure that we're actually protecting the rights of each one of those individuals. >> yes, and we are following the lead of the attorney-general. supervisor campos: as we move
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forward, the many members of the audience you are here and are watching, they want to see what steps local government can take, and i think the steps outlined in the resolution are important steps, but i also think that we may also need to go farther in terms of beyond where the report takes us. it may be that we as a city may need to make an investment to do an even larger review that looks at all of the residential foreclosures that have taken place in san francisco and to the extent that there is additional information that may be the city attorney's office or the district attorney's office would need, i think it would be important for us as a city to make that investment to make sure that we take this even further, if that is the need. >> absolutely. i think also, supervisors avalos and olague had some.
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we want to make sure that our tenant laws are being fully enforced in terms of their protection. but we also want to make sure that we have blight ordnances and vacancy ordnances that are being fully enforced, so i think there are a lot of local laws that have been passed. supervisor campos: and just to be some follow-ups, and i'm wondering about what you are seeing in the city compared to other parts of the city. >> what we found is similar to what john o'brien found in massachusetts. again, they have a state law, but the findings were very, very similar. i think and talking to my other colleagues who are reporters, many of them feel a need to do the further study because they
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believe that what we outlined is probably happening in their county, as well, so they feel that those reports findings are fairly representative, so the players are the same. the actors are following the same laws in terms of state laws, so i think we could surmise that many things going on here is happening elsewhere. of course, california was hit by far the hardest in terms of foreclosures. >> in san francisco, you are some of the top players or lenders in san francisco? >> the lenders are not just local lenders, they are national lenders, but we purposely did not identify any of them by name, because as an industry, we found great failings, so i do not know if any actor was better or worse than anybody else. what we wanted died again were the situations we were facing,
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so i think what this says is that the whole system is broken, whether you are talking about the lenders or the title companies or the reporters or the homeowners or the tenants, is just not working for anybody. supervisor campos: are there any states that use that process other than the nonjudicial process? >> there are a number that to follow the judicial foreclosure processes. i do not have all of them. i think it is 22. supervisor campos: so the big difference between the two is once you have a judicial foreclosure, you have a court actually overseeing the proceedings and assuring that the rights of the homeowners and tenants are protected. >> that is right. supervisor campos: i know you talked about sharing this information with these office of
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the d.a. and the city attorney. are you sharing any of this information with the homeowners that are impacted >> we have not sought them out. the problem is that they are no longer homeowners. they are all people who lost their homes, which i think is a very sad state, and their records of that they have years later is fairly minimal, so what we wanted to do is really highlight these cases to make sure that this type of behavior is modified for the future. i wish we could have helped many of those folks in the past, but unfortunately, because we looked retroactively, there is very little. supervisor campos: and maybe if you can say a little more about what steps your office is taking to help those that were affected by this crisis? >> i believe we started around 2006 or 2007. we have been sending letters to all of the homeowners who are getting letters of defaults, so they know to call hide
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certified housing councils who do not make a single piece a profit off of their advice. we also started one or two years later informing tenants based on what we could tell you where tenants of the same advocacy options so they could get assistance as well. i think part of that advocacy is a san francisco also faces more foreclosures and other surrounding counties. again, we still have way too many foreclosures than i am happy with. supervisor campos: and justifiable above the 2400 foreclosures, many of them are business as opposed to residential foreclosures. how many residential foreclosures are we looking at here in san francisco? >> i do not know that number, but we can find it for you. the large majority is going to be residential. supervisor campos: thank you.
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i will turn this over to supervisor avalos for the next portion, and wanted think you and your group for what you have done, but as members of the board of supervisors, to do some additional work, i think it could be useful. if there are, indeed, civil violations of law, i think that we need to make sure that we take every step needed to look into that, and if there are criminal violations, then i think that we should expect that there would be a full prosecution, if that is the case. the reality is that laws are in place to protect the individuals, and if there is anything that is illegal or criminal in nature, i think the expectation would be that local law enforcement will pursue them aggressively, and so, to the extent that any additional information is needed, i
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certainly would be interested in submitting another request, another item to the board of supervisors, if there is additional money that is needed, so that we give the assessor, recorder, this journey -- city attorney and the district attorney the tools they need to make sure that there is prosecution of any kind of illegal activity that may have happened, so i think that would be the next step, and i would wait and hear from the d.a.'s office and the city attorney's office to see exactly what might be needed to move in that direction, but i wanted to again thank you, and i look forward to continuing this investigation. supervisor mar: thank you. and thank you, supervisor campos. and let me just say before supervisor avalos takes in a
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way, he has already drafted legislation pertaining to this, which has most of the legislation that is before us. also, there is the alliance of californians for community in power meant, ace, and there are some former members of acorn in case. there are some other groups that have been very active in this, and i want to knowledge supervisor:. -- supervisor cohen. supervisor cohen: i, like supervisor avalos, come to the table with experience in foreclosure myself. thank you for the data. i, like supervisor campos, look forward to this. i also want to take a moment to really think the san francisco housing development corp. and
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for as for their advocacy on this important issue. thank you. and to be fearless, defenders, i do not know if we have any in the chamber, but i want to thank you for being courageous. [applause] for being courageous and really putting a name and a face on this issue as opposed to keeping the statistical data anonymous. it is important to personalize this not just for california but for people across america who are dealing with this crisis, and to the organizers, the california reinvestment coalition, as well as the city attorney's office right here that also helps to begin to rectify this. my only regret is we almost feel that we are so late coming to the table, but it is better late than never, so we will be able to prevent our children and our children's children from going
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through this crisis. and it -- i have a couple of questions for you, my friend. if you could come up for me? i am curious to know two things about your data collection. first, i am wondering if you had a geographical breakdown of where the cases came from. i understand that they were randomly selected. >> as the other gentleman mentioned, we pulled more samples from the areas that were hardest hit, some areas in the red, there were more samples from the area because we thought it was fairly representative of what was happening in san francisco, and then there are yellow samples and the green samples. supervisor cohen: i understand. i know you are not clairvoyant. do you have a sense of the number of foreclosures that could have been prevented if the -- -- if the irregularities were discovered? >> what is interesting is, obviously, we do not know the
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situation. every foreclosure, meaning altman z what i believe that the people would say, there is no way you could forestall foreclosures if someone is not paying, so we do not know if anybody was actually paying their loans on time, if they were foreclosed on in a manner that was not in accordance with the law. now, having said that, even if you do foreclose on somebody who is not paying their loans, but you are doing in a way that does not go into the law, that to be called into question. does that mean it would have been able to stay in their home? yes, but maybe it -- maybe only for a few more months. and it is a balance to be looked at. however, because this is a nonjudicial foreclosure states, it is so important that this process is followed because there is not a regulatory -- there is not a body that is making sure that the laws are
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being followed. it is almost a faith that the laws are being followed, and people are going through this process. as the report showed, in a large majority of cases, that was not the case. supervisor cohen: thank you. i have some questions for some others. should i do that now or later? supervisor mar: i know that some are here, but i think it would be good to go forward now. supervisor cohen: another thing that often gets forgotten is that they will talk about taking them back and reclaiming their homes, but the flip side is that we have had some success with many of the homes in san francisco, so those that are fighting, i do not want you to give up. you are standing up and making a statement, and it is very important that you continue to
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do so, so i would like to ask the mayor's office on housing to come up. i just have a couple of questions for you. thank you. >> good afternoon, supervisors. brian. >> thank you. my constituents have often asked me this question. what are some of the services and tools that the mayor's office on housing can help support families going through foreclosure? >> sure. we have a powerpoint presentation that we were going to do. we can do it now more formally. supervisor mar: supervisor avalos is doing this section. i should defer to him. supervisor avalos: thank you, mr. chair. we can pause on that.
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to see exactly what mr. chu's presentation is going to be. thank you. i appreciated. brian, we are going to call you up a little bit later. so let me talk about the flow of the hearing, and i have a lot of speaker cards as well from chair mar. so these are three hearings that are being called together. the one with the assessor and the report we just heard. this one was on strategy is that the city might be able to employ around preventing foreclosures in san francisco. we also have a hearing on the resolution, kind of lumping them all together, so first off, i want to thank you for the report and also for the work from supervisor campos on the other hearing that we just heard, and a reminder about san francisco.
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we have seen about 6000 families that have suffered foreclosures in the city, and we know that that number of families that are being affected is rising. as i mentioned before, my house has been one of the households that suffered from not a foreclosure but from difficulty with mortgages. we bought our house. my wife and i. she is a teacher. we bought our house and 2007. in 2009, our daughter was struggling with your education. it was a crisis for us to maintain her level of learning in school and actually had to pull her out to do some home schooling. it was a difficult decision for us. my wife was not able to work, and we lost your income, and we fell behind in the payments. it was a real struggle for us and my wife and i. it was a dream to be able to of
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our home, especially in san francisco, and we found that it was very difficult to navigate the services that were available to help households against foreclosures, and we actually got help from the mission economic of association that worked with us over a number of months to be able to modify our loan, but i know that that is not the same experience a lot of people have had, and even with the support of some groups like them, they have not had a good experience with the banks to be a to maintain their property. that is something we want to be able to focus on today. also, last year, when i was running for mayor in the city, it became very apparent that the foreclosure crisis was something that was widespread throughout the city, and it was after that experience in december that i left the hearing that was before us today. so i want to call up -- we have
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michael, from the attorney general's office, and i want to thank the attorney general paris for her work. she was actually one of the great voices across the country to ensuring that if there was one to be a settlement, it would be much stronger to what was originally being proposed by the federal government was seeking redress from banks and the issues around foreclosures and supporting households across the country, and ms. harris was great in that effort. here to talk about her work and also the legislation that is being proposed at the sacramento level is michael, and if i get your title correct, he is the senior counsel to the california attorney general harris. >> thank you, supervisor avalos, and other supervisors. thank you for having us. it is a pleasure to be here for
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this informational role. supervisor avalos is our supervisor. i live there. i have seen the told a foreclosure crisis is taking in our own neighborhood, so it is a very serious and timely issue. i want to recognize supervisors campos and another. i want to a knowledge a couple of people that i have worked with, particularly as we battled towards a settlement. richardson and kevin's time, two folks who have been real leaders and advisers during the process, so i would like to talk a little bit if it is helpful for this board through the process about the settlement. as many of you know, there was a major settlement reached with the five major bank servicers.
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jpmorgan chase, bank of america, wells fargo, and others, citi and allied, and as the was talking about, a broader set of issues that have to do with the servicing of mortgages, and it really relates to the bank that is the public phase of your mortgage. those are the folks that take your phone calls when a homeowner is in distress, and they need to initiate foreclosure. they are the bank that is doing it. they do not necessarily on the loan, but they are doing the servicing. our office found, in combination with 49 other attorneys general, a number of irregularities. there were a series of practices that had a very deleterious effect on the homeowners' ability to stay in their homes. irregularities in the processing of documents, much like some of the reports that were outlined today, but more than that, i think they got a sense if you're
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close to that investigation that there was a fundamental disconnect between the homeowners situation, where a homeowner wants a fair shake, and just to talk to somebody and get some meaningful relief, they does want to find a way to make it work for themselves, and the bank process, which was often disorganized and very unfair and riddled with errors, and frankly, many examples of what we felt to be disregard for the rights of homeowners. as a result, the settlement, which ag harris was involved with, back in 2011, after the banks had demanded what had amounted to essentially immunity from many of the claims that we could bring against them, the ag said, "i am not going to participate any longer." she pulled california out of the talks, and we built a strike force.
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after that, the banks, for lack of a better term, relented on some of those positions they had been giving us earlier, and in the end, the california share of the settlement is expected to be $18.10 billion, $12 billion of which will be principal reduction, and that is principal reduction that is enforceable, and we negotiated for some provisions that are going to channel that will lead to the homeowners who are most in need throughout the state of california and the hardest hit counties. but that is just one part of a broader movement and a broader struggle to ensure that the homeowners are getting a fair shake and to address this in a comprehensive way, which is what i think the sport is interested in. ags back -- sponsored a package of bills, the homeowners bill of rights, and there are a couple of things. the first is assuring the the
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due process is restored to the mortgage system, and that includes how homeowners are dealt with. that involves a single point of contact. no more calling 50 people and each time, you have got to say it 50 times, and if the line drops, you have to repeat the entire thing over to the next person. as the assessor was talking about, assignments need to be recorded. we need to have clarity and certainty in our land records, and we need to increase the rights of homeowners to go to court. if a homeowner discovers that there is an irregularity or violation of law in the manner in which they were foreclosed on, our courts are very hostile to those claims. we founded the california courts made it difficult, even much of a material that was pointed out, it could be substantiated, and courts have been consistent in turning back many of those challenges. we need to change state law.
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that is something we are focused on. this creates uncertainty and is unfair to homeowners. lastly, i want to focus on the idea of principal reduction. this is something that supervisor avalos has been involved in. if you are under water, possibly because of their homes nearby have plummeted, as part of the settlement that we have negotiated with the banks, $12 billion worth of capitalize loan balances are going to be down for californians over the next years, and that is really important because that we know from research, the limited amount of reduction that has done has really worked at keeping people in their homes, and there are people in circumstances that are very difficult. they find themselves in circumstances not unlike what supervisor avalos found
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themselves and, death, disability, divorce, and dismissal. this is different than people just refuse to pay because they have the means. we found this to be less common. instead, we found that they are having a hardship. they want to pay. they want to stay in their homes. we hope to see a broader push. the agency has been a leader in pushing them as a federal policy. which is critical, because for fannie mae and freddie mac, they own 60% of the loans in our state. 60% of people have their loans bond by fannie mae and freddie mac, so if they are not doing principal reduction, there are a whole lot of people who will not get the benefit of that remedy, so i am hopeful of the leadership that the h.g. is taking and that we can find a way to work together with the san francisco county supervisors, and i

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